July 9th 2017. Today was the official start of our TAT trip. We were up on time and the morning weather was perfect. A little foggy and cool outside made the start a perfect one.
We headed straight up into the mountains and immediately we twisting and turning through the Appalachians. We stopped for this photo next to a waterfall
Our first fuel stop took place at Thunder Mountain General Store. The proprietor, Ken, was on hand to let us know how many others had come through this season. I asked about the old school gas pumps and he said “they” want $60K to upgrade his to digital…He said “They still work just fine”.
Our route actually skirted behind this sign and then onto the dirt roads. This is very near the famous “Dragons Tail” route for motorcycles (all hardball roads).
Once we cleared the Appalachians we came out around Tellico Plains TN. We stopped for BBQ and of course a couple of beers. Just so happens there was a aptly named BBQ joint called Buckets & Brews.
We had a great conversation with the owners of Buckets & Brews and amazingly they had previously lived in Spring Hill Florida where Chris and I are from! We sat and talked with them for about an hour.
Once we departed Tellico Plains we headed right into the Blueridge Mountains. This is where things went from awesome to “get me off this mountain”. Those are the words I was uttering as day turned to night and we still had at least 20 miles to go.
We had no problem navigating but the ups and downs, twists and turns, and sheer rock cliffs but it took an inordinate amount of time. Our goal was to get to Chatsworth GA and by god we were gonna do it. At one point Chris hit empty on his fuel but we were carrying spares. We emptied our reserve fuel and finally made it out of the mountains. We arrived in Chatsworth around 10pm and parked at the nearest motel (Adco Motel). For those of you familiar with the Bambi Inn in Gainseville FL, this place put it to shame.
It was a Sunday night and everything was closed -I mean everything -Also there was absolutely no cell service or internet. It didn’t matter -we were exhausted. Our asses hurt bad, our feet were wet from the river crossings and our attitudes needed healing sleep.